"I've talked to him about it since. What was...[the reason]? And he went 'Well, you were coming off a pretty poor season' - putting it politely - 'but also there was a lot of 'this is what we're going to do to rebuild the team'.
"I hadn't yet brought in Andreas Seidl, James Key, or restructured the leadership, so there were a lot of promises, and coming off such a bad season I could see how he would go, well...
"Now it's played out, he's seen the changes we've made, the leadership Andreas has brought and the backing we have from our shareholders, going to the Mercedes engine.
"We're a team on the move, and I think he's going to help get us to the next level."
With Ricciardo to partner fellow joker Lando Norris, McLaren is certainly going to be a fun team from 2021.
Brown, however, believes he has an amazing on-track pairing, adding: "They're both deadly serious in a race car, that's for sure.
"Lando is excited. They're great personalities, fan favourites, so as a combination we have the most exciting driver line-up on and off the track for 2021.
"I think we've a great line-up for 2020, so we're all very laser-focused on getting back to racing this year, and we will get excited about '21 when we are done with '20."
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.